Is Marley the luckiest dog in Ipswich?

Marley, a 3 year old blue American Staffordshire bullterrier, has spent a lot of time in hospital over the course of her short life. When the owners, Jasmine and Joel first brought Marley home she contracted Parvovirus (at no fault of theirs, as they had been told by the breeder she was up to date with vaccinations). Marley spent several days in hospital on an array of medications and fluids and it was then her family, and all the staff knew she was a fighter.

Marley arrived collapsed.
The brown snake that bit Marley

On Sunday, Booval Vet Hospital received a phone call from Jasmine, letting us know her husband, Joel and Marley were on their way to Booval Vet Hospital. Jasmine told the Nurse, that Marley had been bitten by a brown snake and had collapsed. Eastern Brown snakes have highly potent venom and can result in death and critical illness due to sudden cardiovascular collapse (especially with Brown snake envenomation), progressive paralysis leading to respiratory failure, hemorrhage, and renal failure.

Because of the phone call from Marley’s owner, the staff were able to prepare for Marley and were ready for her arrival, no matter what her presenting condition was.

On arrival, Marley was pale and very lethargic. Nurse Emily and Dr Elsa rushed to help Marley. Marley was starting to “recover” from her collapse (an initial neurological toxin effect causing sudden clotting), a common occurrence in snake bite, however, many owners will be tricked by this thinking their pet is better, but the pet will soon collapse again, as the muscles start to break down and the pet has used up all clotting factors, leaving the pet unable to clot, causing the dog to bleed out, which usually means, it’s too late.

Clotting tube, that did not clot
Antivenon given to Marley
Dr Elsa assesing Marley

Marley had an intravenous catheter placed and given an injection to reduce any possible reactions to the snake antivenin Marley was about to receive. A sample of her blood was taken to assess her clotting ability and creatine kinase (CK) which is used to evaluate muscle destruction (myolysis) – a common symptom of snake envenomation. Marley’s CK was slightly elevated, and her blood failed to clot. Marley was administered snake antivenin immediately and her vitals monitored closely throughout the administration as some animals can have extreme reactions.

For the next 72 hours Marley was closely monitored for further deterioration but she was strong and fought for her life. On Tuesday, Marley’s blood results returned to normal and she was able to go back to her family that evening.

If it wasn’t for Joel’s quick thinking, and immediate decision to take Marley to the Vet, Marley may not have survived. The decision to call the Vet by Jasmine allowed the team at Booval Vet Hospital to be prepared for the worst and treat Marley on arrival. Having a plan for your pet in an emergency is just as important as treatment itself.

Marley before being discharged home